'Mental health problems', 'Psychological disorders', 'Mental conditions', 'Issues', 'Depression' 'Fear' or 'Stress' the list can go on and on... Whatever words you use to describe what you or someone is going through, we are here to offer an understanding and develope helpful coping strategies.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is an automatic response to a perceived threat. It can consists of the fight (where you tackle the threat head on), flight (where you distance yourself from the threat) and the freeze (where you do nothing) responses.
These responses trigger the release of hormones into your body which cause your body to change in order to manage the threat you are faced with.
Common symptoms of anxiety include: increased heart rate, heavy breathing, sweating, shaking, dizziness, needing to go to the toilet, derealisation and many more.
Anxiety is normal, however it can become out of control where you start experiencing anxiety in situations which would normally not cause one to feel anxious. This can lead to people avoiding many things, people or situations in their life due to the distress they experience causing them to live a life in fear. If left untreated, anxiety can often lead to depression.
Anxiety can manifest as various problems including Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Health Anxiety, Social Anxiety Disorder and Generalised Anxiety Disorder.
What is Depression?
Depression is a very common emotional problem that can affect anyone at any time. It is not simply feeling sad but more living a life of sadness, despair and a sense of hopelessness which is compounded by lack of energy, de-motivation and loss of pleasure or enthusiasm in activities you once enjoyed.
Often people experience suicidal thoughts or thoughts of wanting to harm themselves in some way as a means to cope with the depression. People may also engage in self-destructive behaviours such as binge eating, over use of drugs or alcohol or other behaviours which are out of their normal way of coping.
Depression can last several weeks or months and sometimes even years. Often people confuse Depression with feeling sad. Sadness is normal and healthy emotion which often is justified. Depression is much more complicated and long lasting than sadness.
What is Trauma or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
Trauma and PTSD are often interchangeably used. People often experience Trauma following experiencing or being a witness to a highly traumatic experience, e.g. sexual/physical assault, accident or being in a natural disaster.
The person experiences high levels of anxiety, they may have flashbacks of the traumatic experience and this can cause feelings similar to of that of the event. They may also have nightmares in relation to the experience.
The sufferer avoids situations that may trigger flashbacks or memories of the event they experienced. These people perceive that they are in constant state of danger even if the event may have taken place quite a while ago and therefore are hyper-vigilant.
Treatment for PTSD is very successful and they include Trauma-focused CBT and EMDR.
What is Health Anxiety?
In this condition the individual excessively worries that they have or may develop a health problem which could cause them severe and enduring pain and distress.
The individual may often search the internet for symptoms to match a condition, seek reassurance from health professionals and they check their bodies for lumps, bruises or other symptoms. The idea of having a health problem causes them anxiety which in turn can often make their original symptoms worse, which provides confirmation of their illness.
What is Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)?
Here a person uncontrollably worries about many different things. Often the worry is hypothetical and not something that you could deal with in the here and now. The worry tends to be excessive and the sufferer is unable to let go of these worries. These people often seek reassurance, over plan, procrastinate and avoid things to manage their intolerance of uncertainty.
What is Social Anxiety Disorder?
This is characterised by experiencing anxiety in social situations due to a fear of being judged and therefore treated negatively. People with social anxiety will avoid parties, outings or entertaining if they can.
What are Phobias?
Often an irrational but very extreme fear of a particular object, animal or situation such as heights, confined spaces, cats, needles, blood and many more.
What is Panic?
This is when you experience a sudden rush of anxiety due to a fear of imminent danger, such as a fear of fainting, having a heart attack, suffocating or losing one’s mind.
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